KY Judge: Juvenile Court Record Can Be Opened In Public Interest


Ruling that juvenile court files can be opened for “good cause,” a Louisville judge affirmed a lower court's decision allowing the Louisville Courier-Journal to inspect the homicide case of a 12-year-old boy charged a dozen years later with murdering a fellow ex-soldier in Colorado. Judge Barry Willett found that the newspaper had a right to review the file of Kenneth Eastridge, who pleaded guilty to reckless homicide in 1996 to killing another 12-year-old boy and was then charged in 2007 with killing a fellow veteran in Colorado Springs.

That case, in which Eastridge, then 24, was charged along with two other members of his former unit, captured national media attention as an example of the horrific crimes committed by some Iraq war veterans. A lower court judge had ruled that the usual protection of the confidentiality of minors in criminal cases was outweighed by the fact that Eastridge was now an adult, the severity of the current murder charge, and the public interest in learning from his case.

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